Tom Meeusen completes his double-weekend in the Superprestige Hoogstraten
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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tom Meeusen completes his double-weekend in the Superprestige Hoogstraten

by Ben Atkins at 10:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
Two wins in two days for Belgium’s new Iceman

tom meeusenTom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) followed his first victory of the season, in the previous day’s Krawatencross Lille, with his second in the Superprestige Hoogstraten. The 23-year-old managed to escape the tactical battle between the two series leaders, Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) in the final lap, to finish alone.

Pauwels managed to overcome Nys in a straight sprint for the line to take second place; Nys still leads the series though, with just the final race in Middelkerke to go.

The recent cold snap had remained in Belgium, and the course was still dusted with frosty snow; despite the elite men’s race taking place in the middle of the afternoon, the ground remained frozen from the overnight frost, leaving the parcours hard and fast.

With no mud to slow the riders down, the race was to take on the appearance of an off-road Kermis-koers [criterium – ed].

Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Ruvor) made his usual fast start and, unusually, he managed to create a little gap. The rest were not too far behind him though, with Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and the previous days winner Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) at their head, and he was never far away in on the fast, frozen surface.

Meeusen managed to jump across to Vantornout as the first lap ended, and set about leaving the tall Sunweb-Revor rider behind. Zdeněk Štybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) had taken over the chase behind, with Sunweb-Revor duo Kevin Pauwels and Jim Aernouts, and Nys on his wheel.

As Meeusen and Vantornout crossed the line, they were caught by Pauwels and Štybar; Nys was a few seconds back, in a group led by Landbouwkrediet teammate Sven Vanthourenhout.

The hardworking Vanthourenhout managed to close the gap before the end of lap three; World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), who’d got caught behind the splitting bunch, was chasing hard with Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant), some 20 seconds back.

Vantornout was in no mood for company however, and continued to set his lone pace; he pulled clear once more, with only Sven Vanthourenhout for company, but Nys was not far behind and the group was all together again before the lap was over.

It was now the turn of Vanthourenhout, who spent the following two laps winding up the pace in an attempt to get rid of Nys’ big rivals. Despite being stretched into one long line on the narrow, frozen course though, everybody was able to stay with the Landbouwkrediet riders, and Albert managed to claw his way up to the back of the group.

With Vanthourenhout having worn the group down, Nys at last chose his moment to go. The Belgian champion immediately managed to open a gap, but was pursued by Pauwels and Meeusen, with Vanthourenhout on their tail. Pauwels quickly fought his way up to his big rival, with Meeusen following shortly.

With two laps to go, the three of them were away, as Pauwels took over on the front. Pressure from the Sunweb-Revor rider in the middle of the penultimate lap saw Meeusen gapped, but the younger rider managed to claw his way back up in time to take the bell.

Meeusen’s defiance as he caught the others saw him attack in the middle of the lap as Nys and Pauwels looked at one another, and he opened up a gap of a few metres over the other two. Nys was chasing frantically, with Pauwels glued to his back wheel as usual, but the Telenet-Fidea rider was actually drawing further away.

Into the finishing straight Meeusen was all alone and took a long time to celebrate his second victory in two days. Behind him Nys and Pauwels were sprinting side by side, until Nys ceded to the younger rider, and Pauwels took second place.

Sven Vanthourenhout held on to take fourth place, just ahead of a sprinting group led by Radomir Simunek (BKCP-Powerplus).

Daphny van den Brand rides away to women’s race victory

In the absence of World champion Marianne Vos, it was the turn of Daphny van den Brand (AA to be the dominant Dutchwoman, but the European champion had things far from all her own way. A fast start from Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) saw a group of four riders pull away from the rest, and it was this group that was to decide the race.

With Harris was van den Brand, Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Boxx), and Harris’ teammate Pavla Havlikova. Van den Brand soon escaped alone, but a combination of Harris’ determination and a slippery frozen course meant that she was not able to get too far away.

Cant managed to stay with Harris until late in the race, when the British rider slipped away; van den Brand crossed the line alone, but Harris was just 14 seconds behind her as she took second place. A resurgent Havlikova managed to outsprint Cant to take the final place on the podium.

Result Superprestige Hoogstraten Elite women
1. Daphny van den Brand (Ned) AA
2. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
3. Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea
4. Sanne Cant (Bel) Boxx Veldritacademie
5. Lucie Chainel (Fra) France
6. Nancy Bober (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team
7. Nikoline Hansen (Den)
8. Amy Dombroski (USA) Crank Brothers
9. Iris Ockeloen (Ned) RTC Groenwoud
10. Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren

Result Superprestige Hoogstraten Elite men
1. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
2. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
3. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
4. Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
5. Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus
6. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
7. Zdeněk Štybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
8. Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Racing Team
9. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
10. Thijs Al (Ned) AA


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